Meintjies, Pasio win elite road racing titles

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iol spt feb9 Cycling_generic INDEPENDENT MEDIA There was stress and no small measure of relief on the face of the organisers of the Cape Town Cycle Tour as they announced a revised route and reduced distance for the race because of the fires that have devastated the peninsula.

Johannesburg – Louis Meintjes and defending National Champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio claimed top honours in the elite men and women's race categories at the South African Road Cycling Championships, in Westville, on Sunday.

As with the African Continental Championships, the elite and under-23 men started the 180km race together, and the first rider to cross the finish line was dubbed the elite winner. In this instance, Meintjes is the new under-23 and elite National Champion.

Meintjes clinched the victory on the finish line in a stroke of fortune.

Newly crowned time trial National Champion Daryl Impey, looked set to win when his chain broke in the final 15-metres before the finish line.

Impey freewheeled helplessly across the line.

Defending champion Jay Thomson claimed the bronze medal.

Meintjes was elated with his performance.

“I'm really happy and I'm looking forward to wearing the national jersey overseas,” said Meintjes.

“I had a very strong team and every time there was a break we were represented with a strong team member, so we were always in control. I'm not at top form at the moment, but I am really surprised and really happy with the form I had today.”

In the women's race, Moolman-Pasio claimed the victory after a calculated race with several attacks on the strong field. Cherise Stander crossed the line second, and 18-year-old Heidi Dalton finished third.

“I tried to test everyone's legs at every opportunity that I could,” said Moolman-Pasio.

“I was the only one making the racing today, so I'm really happy that I managed to pull it off as an alone rider. It was a tough job. I just can't tell you how happy I am.”

Moolman-Pasio bided her time before launching the successful break in the final lap.

“I didn't want to go too early, it's a tough course and with the humidity I was feeling the cramps coming on so I had to be careful. After halfway, wherever the road wet up I tried to make it hard for the girls and coming into the start of the final lap, the string finally snapped and no-one was behind me, so I drove it as hard as I could until the end.” - Sapa

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